Anticorruption briefing addresses business ethics

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Anticorruption briefing addresses business ethics

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Lee Sung-bo, chairman of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, delivers a welcome speech yesterday during the seventh ACRC Policy Briefing for Foreign Businesses at the Korea Press Center in central Seoul. Provided by ACRC

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, a state-run anticorruption body, invited executives and legal officers from foreign-invested enterprises in Korea to its annual policy briefing session to share their experiences and discuss industry issues and the ways in which those problems could be resolved.

The ACRC Policy Briefing for Foreign Businesses, held yesterday at the Korea Press Center in central Seoul, was also intended to keep business leaders up to date on the commission’s efforts to fight against corruption and help foreign companies address unfair business practices.

The event was attended by nearly 50 people, including Thilo Halter, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce; Amy Jackson, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea; and Hirotsugu Ishiyama, chairman of the Seoul Japan Club.

Some of the participants expressed concerns about what they saw as unethical practices in their sectors.

Shin Seong-suk, a compliance officer with the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, said that some health care professionals who have bilateral contracts with the company make a significant amount of money on the side speaking in outside lectures and forums.

“We found that some health care professionals in the public sector - for example, professors in university hospitals - are freely engaged in events such as forums and lectures in return for a large amount of money, even though they have business ties with us,” she said.

Kwak Jin-young, vice chairman of the ACRC, acknowledged the issue and said the agency would look into the matter. “We are certainly aware of the issue. Last year, we conducted a survey to find out whether health care workers in public medical centers are involved in activities that could be a conflict of interest,” said Kwak.

“One of the guidelines that we’d like to push forward is dealing with that issue. The guideline would limit the scope of activities in which they can engage, as well as the amount of money they can accept.”

Jae Jung, general counsel at Audi Volkswagen Korea, asked how foreign businesses could receive assistance from the ACRC when facing inappropriate pressure or other requests from Korean government agencies.

“When they get improper requests from the government or state-run bodies, foreign businesses can file complaints with the ACRC,” explained Lee Sung-bo, chairman of the ACRC. “Then investigators can begin collecting data and evidence. If they conclude that the evidence is sound, they can transfer the case to the police or the prosecution.”

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]


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